Pricewatch: Readers’ queries
More readers contact us about Complete Savings
One reader found she had inadvertently signed up to Complete Savings after buying a ticket on the Irish Rail website
Last week, we featured two readers’ concerns over what they said were mystery payments to a company called Complete Savings. One of the readers found she had inadvertently signed up to the company which promises discounts on future purchases with a range of other providers, after buying a concert ticket through Ticketmaster, while a second found herself in the same situation after buying a train ticket on the Irish Rail website.
Neither reader knew how they had signed up to Complete Savings although a company spokesman insisted to us that the only way they could have registered was by entering their financial details on its site.
The item prompted four more readers to get in touch within hours of this newspaper hitting the news stands last Monday. “Purely by chance I happened to read your item,” writes Patricia Cantwell. When she did she realised she had recently been getting emails from Complete Savings. They started coming after she booked tickets for Swan Lake through Ticketmaster.
“I emailed the company and they confirmed that they had indeed debited my account for a monthly sum completely without my knowledge. They undertook to refund the sums and to unsubscribe me from further emails,” she says.
“I am furious with Ticketmaster as it was through buying through their website that somehow this happened. I would never in a million years have subscribed to such a website and if it were not for your Pricewatch section I would have been blissfully unaware of it and probably not discovered it for several months when a large amount would have gone from my account.”
After Tom Costello read the article, he realised he too was paying for a service he did not know he had signed up to, again after buying tickets through Ticketmaster. He contacted Complete Savings and stopped the deductions and was promised refund of €36.
‘I have no idea why anyone would sign up to this service’
Another Complete Savings story, this time from David Bouchier-Hayes of Galway. “I bought a ticket with Irish Rail to travel to Dublin for the rugby international. At no stage did I realise that this service, which initially offered a reduction on my rail ticket /subsequent rail ticket, was a subscription service whereby I would be losing €12 euro a month,” he writes.
“Only when I went through the rather long-winded email that I received from them, did I find information in relation to this far down on the page. I’m not sure why Irish Rail handed on my details. I am reasonably knowledgeable in relation to websites and special offers and have never seen anything like this, especially in collaboration with major companies.”
He says he feels “hoodwinked” and points out that “usually one of these offers is free and there is a one-off reduction/voucher, but I have never had the situation whereby money was going to be taken from my account without me being aware of it.
“I have no idea why anyone would legitimately sign up to this service, as the reductions and savings seem extremely small.”
When he spoke to Irish Rail he said he was told it had “no input”.
“Irish Rail are a large company, and have a duty of care that these offers/websites are vetted by them, as the customer believes they are dealing with something authorised by Irish Rail,” he writes.
Ryanair booking leads to ‘discount’ website sign-up
Diarmuid O’Colmain had a similar experience with Complete Savings, except this time he was making a Ryanair booking. “After I made the booking I was told I qualified for a discount off a future Ryanair booking,” he writes.
“It sounded like a good idea and I had some spare time, so I followed a link. Then it got more complicated in that I found myself on a Complete Savings website – I didn’t like that, it felt strange but I felt Ryanair may have just outsourced this part of their business process to Complete Savings. I don’t remember giving credit card details or email address to Complete Savings but may have done so as part of the process.”
He says he read the article and contacted the company which “made no bones about cancelling my membership and refunding the money”.
We passed on the readers’ complaints to both Complete Savings and the companies involved. The companies repeated their claims that their relationships with Complete Savings were above board and insisted they never pass financial details on to any third party.
We also contacted the company directly and suggested that this trend was emerging. It declined to comment on this and reiterated its claim that people sign up willingly and in full knowledge of the consequences and the cost.